Khanate of Sibir

gigatos | February 14, 2022


The Siberian Khanate (Sib.-Tat. Seber Khanlygy, Seber Yorty) is a Tatar feudal state in Western Siberia, formed at the end of the 15th century as a result of the collapse of the Golden Horde. The Siberian Khanate bordered the Perm Land, the Nogai Horde, the Kazakh Khanate and the Teleuts. In the north it reached the lower reaches of the Ob, and in the east it neighbored the Pegaya Horde.

Origins (1220-1374)

Perhaps for the first time the term “Siberia” is mentioned in the “Sacred Tale of the Mongols” (“Yuan-chao mi-shi”) compiled in 1240, which refers to the conquest by the Juchi in 1206 of the forest tribes south of the Shibir. At the same time, researchers cannot localize this area with certainty; it is suggested that “maybe this was the name of the northern edge of the Barabinsk plane between the Ob and Irtysh” (Palladius).

More confidently we can identify with the Tobol-Irtysh interfluve areas Siberia and Irtysh mentioned in the first half of the XIV century as part of the Golden Horde by the secretary of the Egyptian Sultan Al-Omari. In the same century, the cities of the future Siberian Khanate are found on Western European maps: Kashlyk in the form of Sebur appears in the map of the Venetian brothers Pizzigani (1367), and Chingi-Tura in the form of Singui appears in the Catalan atlas (1375).

Historians have no consensus on which administrative and political unit served as the basis for the formation of the Tyumen (Siberian) Khanate. There are two almost equal versions and one original version.

According to the version derived from the academician G.F. Miller, who in turn relied on the so-called “Siberian annals” of the 17th century (Yesipovskaya, Remezovskaya and voivode Peter Godunov), the lands of the future khanate originally belonged to Taybuginsky yurt, founded in 1220 and being the hereditary possessions of the Siberian prince Taybuga”s descendants. Unlike other uluses of the Golden Horde, the Taybuginsky yurt had autonomy. Adherents of this version even give the Taybugins the status of khans, i.e. put them on a par with the Genghisids. Therefore, the Taibuginsky yurt should be referred to as the Tyumen Khanate proper.

It is reported that the legend of Taybug is also discussed in the “Genealogy of the Turks” by the Uzbek historian, Shibanid Khan Abulgazi. However, this work was compiled at the same time as the Siberian annals, i.e. 400 years after the events described. Unfortunately, it is not available now.

Among modern researchers, for example, G.L. Fayzrakhmanov defends the version of the khans of the Taibugin family. Consistently developing his point of view, he, following a number of other historians (Z.Ya. Boyarshinova, N.N. Stepanov, N.G. Apollova) states that the capital of the Shibanid Khans Haji-Muhammad, Abu-l Khair and even Ibak was not Chingi-Tura but the town Kyzyl-Tura (now the village of Ust-Ishim) in the place where the Ishim flows into the Irtysh. And Ibak Khan captured Chingi-Tura only in the early 1480s, which meant his occupation of the throne of the Tyumen Khanate.

Several circumstances testify against this version:

The fifth son of Juchi, Shiban, received the ulus twice. First, Genghis Khan, who in 1227 was settling a dispute between the Batu and Horde princes over supremacy in the Jochi ulus, divided the ulus into 3 parts, allotting to Shiban the so-called “Gray Yurt” (Boz Horde, Yuz-Orda). The colors of the yurts determined the hierarchy of their owners among themselves. Then in 1246, at the end of the Western campaign of the Mongols, Batu changed the original division and divided the ulus into 14 parts. The new Ulus of Shiban covered the lands of central and northern Kazakhstan, as well as the area between the rivers Ili and Syr Darya. Many historians (V.V. Bartold, A.Yu. Yakubovsky, M.G. Safargaliev, L.N. Gumilev, G.A. Fedorov-Danilov, V.L. Egorov, N.A. Mazhitov) hold the opinion that to the Ulus Shiban should be attributed also one or another part of Western Siberia.

The composition and boundaries of the ulus were repeatedly changed, but the Shibanids generally managed to retain their former ulus (yurt). The Shibanid ulus was the only one in the Golden Horde that retained its territory and status after the administrative-territorial reform of the Khan Uzbek:

There is a description of the ulus in the last quarter of the XIV – first quarter of the XV centuries, from which it is obvious that the land of the future Siberian khanate at that time was entirely controlled by the Shibanids:

A certain light on the relations between the Ulus Shiban and Taybugin yurt is shed by the report of the “Selected annals from the book of victories” (Tavarikh-i guzide nusrat nama) that the head of one of the four subordinated tribes to Shiban was called Taybug from Burkuts (connected with Kungirats), and the head of another tribe – Tukbug from Tumen. When Abu-l-hair in 1428 took Chingi-Tura, its hakims (governors) were Adadbek and Kebek-hoja-bij from Burkut tribe, a sort of the above mentioned Taybuga.

Ж. M. Sabitov identifies the Taybugins with the descendants of Saljiut Alatai, one of the four emirs of Khan Uzbek, reasoning that he is the only emir, about whose descendants nothing is known. In one of the lists of the “Chinggisname” Alatai is also called a burkut.

The version of J.M. Sabitov concerning Alatai is also interesting because Uzbek gave Alatai to rule over a tribe of Ming, i.e. Mangyts (future Nogai). And according to the remark of A.Z.Validi, the full version of “Chingiz-name” calls Chingi-Tura of the time of Haji-Muhammad Khan a Mangyte settlement. Finally, the dependence of many Uzbek and Siberian khans on Nogai murz is well known, and after the defeat of the Siberian Khanate Taybuginsky yurt became part of the Nogai Horde.

According to the logic of J.M. Sabitov, Taibugin yurt emerged as a fragment of the Golden Horde during the “Great Silence”, created by the descendants of Emir Alatay, who acted by analogy with the descendants of other emirs of Khan Uzbek – Isatai, Nangudai and Kutluk-Timur, who began to rule in different parts of the Golden Horde behind the puppet Chingizid Khans. With the strengthening of the Mangits in the Golden Horde, the status of puppet khans extended to the Shibanids, which was expressed in the formula:

From ancient times to the present, every khan who was proclaimed by the emirs of the Mangyts has given the emirs of the Mangyts the will in the state. If now the khan will also act according to our ancient custom, fine, and if not, .

Chingi-Tura Vilayet (1375-1468)

In 1359 in the Golden Horde begins the Great Tribulation, in which the Shibanids take the most active part.

According to “Chingizname”, prince Tokhtamysh, who first suffered defeats from Urus-khan and his descendants, appealed for help to the head of the Shibanid family, Kaganbek. Kaganbek did not help Tokhtamysh, but help came from Kaganbek”s cousin Arab-shah. Thanks to the latter, Tokhtamysh was able to defeat both the Uruskhanids and Mamay, uniting the Golden Horde for the first time since the beginning of the “Great Silence”. In gratitude, Tokhtamysh transferred power over the Ulus Shiban to Arab-shah.

As previously reported, Arab Shah and his brother roamed between the upper reaches of the Yaik River in summer and the mouth of the Syr Darya River in winter. The first strikes of Tamerlane against Tokhtamysh were made precisely against the Ulus Shiban. Nizam ad-Din Shami testifies that in 1389 Tamerlan sent Jahan-shah-bahadur, Omar-bahadur and Uch-Qara-bahadur “towards Irtysh in search of the enemy”. The Noyons reached Irtysh and completely plundered the vilayet. Tamerlane”s campaign, which ended in April 1391 with the erection of a mound near the Ulytau mountains in the Karaganda region, where the following inscription is carved, is also known:

It is also impossible to pass by the two manuscripts published in 1903 under the general title “On the Religious Wars of the Disciples of Sheikh Bagautdin against the Foreigners of Western Siberia”. According to these manuscripts, in 1394-1395, 366 sheikhs accompanied by 1,700 horsemen, led by the Shibanid Khan, undertook a campaign from Bukhara along Irtysh all the way to Kashlyk to convert the locals to Islam. In the campaign 300 sheikhs and 1,448 horsemen were killed, and the losses of the opposite side cannot be counted:

They exterminated a great multitude of pagans and Tatars, fighting so that on the banks of the Irtysh there was not a stream or river where they did not fight, and they did not give those pagans the opportunity to flee…

The details of the campaign indicate that either the year or the name of the khan is mixed up. Considering that one of the heroes of the works, Sheikh Bahauddin Naqshband, died in 1389, and it was characteristic of Tamerlane to accuse his enemies of apostasy and generally use religious motives to justify his campaigns, the time of the campaign looks more like the era of Tamerlane.

However, for the first time the name Tyumen is mentioned in the Russian chronicles in connection with a representative of the Tukatimurid Khan Tokhtamysh, when under 1408 the chronicler wrote down:

Tokhtomysh was killed in the land of Siberia near Tyumen.

From the analysis of the “Collection of annals” and the Siberian annals it follows that the founder of the Siberian khanate was a descendant of Shaiban Haji-Muhammed, proclaimed khan of Siberia in 1420. Then a long internecine struggle began in the khanate, which ended only in 1495 with the proclamation of the city of Siberia (Kashlyk) as the capital of the state.

Tyumen”s provincial status was long interrupted by Shibanid Abu-l-Hair, who made Chingi-Tura the capital of the Uzbek Khanate he founded. In that capacity the city existed from 1428 to 1446 (a total of 18 years). At the same time, “vilayet of Chingi-Tura” was first mentioned, where khan Abu-l-khayr appointed governors (darugi). “Chingiz-name” and “Nusrat-name” mention that Tyumen khans were subordinated to Kazan during this period.

Tyumen Khanate (1468-1495)

The Tyumen Khanate as an independent state emerged in the fourteenth century, before that it was part of the Golden Horde under the name “Ibir”. It was located in the middle reaches of the Tobol and between its tributaries Tavda and Tura. As a result of a long struggle between the rulers of the White Horde, the Sheibanids and the Taybugins, who represented the local nobility, the power in the state was seized by the Shibanid Ibak. Under brothers Ibak and Mamuk, who since 1480 dared to fight for the throne of the Great Horde, the Tyumen Khanate reached its greatest influence. In 1495 Ibak was killed by Taybugin Makhmet, who moved the capital of the khanate to a fortified town Sibir (Kashlyk), which became the capital of the new Siberian khanate. The lands of the Tyumen Khanate became part of the Siberian Khanate at the beginning of the 16th century.

Isker yurt (1495-1582)

In 1495, Muhammad Taybuga (Makhmet) defeated the Tyumen Khanate and killed the Shibanid Khan Ibak. After that the capital was transferred to Kashlyk, and the khanate was called Siberian. The princely dynasty of Taibugids became its rulers.

In 1555 Taybuga Khan Yediger recognized vassal dependence on the Russian kingdom.

Kuchum”s Siberian Khanate (1563-1582)

However, in 1563 Ibak”s grandson Shibanid Khan Kuchum seized power. He executed his co-rulers, the brothers Yediger and Bekbulat. The Tyumen Khanate became part of the Siberian Khanate. Khan Kuchum stopped paying tribute to Moscow, but in 1571 sent a full yasak of 1,000 sables. In 1572 he completely broke off tribute relations. In 1573, Kuchum sent his nephew Makhmetkul with a retinue for reconnaissance purposes outside the Khanate. Makhmut Kuli reached Perm, disturbing the possessions of the Stroganovs. Kuchum made considerable efforts to strengthen the importance of Islam in Siberia.

Conquest of Siberia by the Russian State (1582-1598)

In 1582, on 26 October, a detachment of the ataman Yermak after a victory over Kuchum occupied the capital of the khanate Kashlyk. The Cossack detachments had been making campaigns and subjugating local tribes for three years. However, in 1585 Ermak died in a sudden attack of the Kuchumans. Meanwhile new Russian troops already began to penetrate into Siberia and soon Russian fortresses Tyumen, Tobolsk, Tara, Beryozov, Obdorsk and others were built in the territory of the Siberian khanate. In 1588 the Tobolsk voivode Danila Chulkov captured several Tatar princes, after which the rebellious Tatars finally abandoned Kashlyk and rode off to the steppes.

Kuchum also roamed south and resisted Russian detachments until 1598. On August 20, 1598, he was defeated by the Tarski voevoda Andrey Voyeikov on the bank of the Ob River (on the territory of modern Hordynsky district of the Novosibirsk region) and rode away, according to one version, to the Nogai Horde, according to another – to the east and died a few years later.

Kuchum”s grandson, Arslan Aleyevich, taken prisoner in 1598, lived in Kasimov and in 1614 was proclaimed Kasimov Khan.

The Siberian Khanate was a multi-ethnic political association. The head of the state was Khan, who was elected by the aristocratic elite – beks, murza, and tarkhans. The state structure was semi-military in nature. In the management of the khanate, the khan was assisted by his vizier, karacha, and advisers. Siberian khans little interfered in the affairs of the ulus, governed by noble murza and beks. During the war, the murza and their detachments took part in the campaigns, because they were interested in the spoils of war, which was an important source of income for the Tatar feudal lords. The feudal nobility also included a small part of the feudalizing upper classes of the Ostyaks (Khanty) and Voguls (Mansi). The remaining non-Turkic population (Ostyaks, Voguls and Samoyeds) was in a subordinate position, which created internal contradictions in the Khanate and weakened its power.

The Siberian Tatars who inhabited the Khanate led a sedentary and semi-nomadic way of life. They were engaged in cattle breeding, raising horses and sheep, as well as fishing and hunting. Despite this, small pockets of agriculture existed in the Tobol and Irtysh floodplains. The sedentary settlements developed domestic industry: pottery, weaving, smelting and metal working.Administrative and military centers were the towns of Kyzyl-Tura (Ust-Ishim), Kasim-Tura, Yavlu-Tura (Yalutorovsk), Tontur (now the village of Voznesenka in Vengerovo district of Novosibirsk region) and others.

The khanate developed feudal relations. The owners of the ulus possessed wealth in the form of pastures, cattle and slaves. the “black” ulus people belonged to the lower stratum of society. They paid annual taxes to the owners of the ulus, as well as military service in their detachments. The Siberian Khans forcefully subjugated the Khanty-Mansi tribes in the Urals, the lower reaches of the Irtysh and the Ob, forcing them to pay tribute (yasak) to them. The Kuchum Khan also managed to subdue the Baraba people and their neighboring tribes, as well as some of the Bashkir tribes.

In addition to Siberian detachments, warriors of local tribes subordinate to the khanate took part in the army of the Siberian khanate during the campaigns. It is difficult to estimate the number of the Siberian army, but it is known that during the battle on Abalak lake Tsarevich Mametkul commanded tumen, a compound that theoretically consisted of 10,000 soldiers. The armed forces of the Khanate were scattered, and therefore Kuchum, when Russian troops invaded, failed to assemble them into a single fist. Kuchum himself had the Nogai guards at his disposal. The majority of the Siberian princes had own strengthened towns with the garrisons located there. On the battlefield Siberian warriors used the traditional tactic of maneuvering and filling the enemy with arrows in the horse formation. Siberian warriors also knew how to fight on foot. Intelligence played an important role in the military art of the Turks, thanks to which the Siberian troops were able to set ambushes and surprise attacks on the enemy.

The weapons of Siberian warriors consisted of bows with arrows, which were their main weapons, spears, darts, sabers, broadswords, daggers and battle axes. Ringed furs, helmets and armour served as protective armour for warriors. In addition to edged weapons, Siberian warriors also used artillery.

The legendary rulers of Siberia

Before 1035, the south of western Siberia was part of the Kimak Kaganate.



  1. Сибирское ханство
  2. Khanate of Sibir
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